As an Articulate community manager who spends a ton of time working in Storyline 360, people often ask, What are my favorite time-saving Storyline features? One that always comes to mind immediately is slide masters. I use slide masters all. the. time. They help me develop my courses faster and deliver a streamlined, consistent look across multiple slides.

If you’re new to slide masters, you might be wondering just what a slide master is. They’re slide layouts you can create to quickly apply the same look and feel across multiple slides. If you’re wondering how they can help you, let me ask you two questions: Do you ever find yourself copying and pasting items from one slide to another to recreate a certain layout? Do you ever need to reuse the same background across multiple slides? If yes to either or both, you need to get acquainted with slide masters.

Let me illustrate the steps behind how and why I use slide masters using a recent example from my work.

Design the slide layout or background

Let’s say I’m working on a medical course in Storyline 360. I’ve designed the beautiful slide you see below—it has a blue menu created using shapes, text, and images. I’ve also added a background image on the main part of the slide.

Let’s say I want to reuse this particular layout across multiple slides, and I want this sidebar and background image to be visible on every slide in my course. Do I need to copy and paste the menu and background image onto each new slide I create? Why no. This is when I use a slide master.

Place the items on a master slide

Once I realize that I want to reuse a layout across multiple slides, my first step is to move the objects that make up that layout onto a slide master. To do this, I select all the objects I want to move—notice in the image below how all the objects that make up my layout are selected.

I then hit CTRL + X on my keyboard to “cut” those objects. Next, I head over to the slide master section by clicking the View tab on the ribbon, then selecting Slide Master.

Inside the slide master area, you’ll see this:

Here I’ll hit CTRL + V to paste all of my “cut” items onto one of the slide master layouts.

Once I’ve placed my objects on the slide, I click the Close Master View icon to exit the slide master view.

Apply the layout to your slides

The next step is to apply the layout I’ve just created to a new slide. When I go to insert a new slide, under the Slides tab I’ll have the layout I created available under the Basic Layouts dropdown.

I can also quickly and easily apply the new layout to any existing slide by right-clicking on the slide and choosing “Apply Layout” from the menu that appears.

Hopefully these simple steps show you how slide masters can help you quickly reapply the same background or layout across multiple slides. I use this trick all the time and would love to hear if it works for you, too. Leave me a note in the comments!

Here are some related articles and tutorials to help you get better acquainted with slide masters:

Want to try something you learned here, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.

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Nicole Legault
Ned Whiteley

Hi Nicole, I couldn't agree more with your comments. Particularly if you are doing work for corporate clients where it is so important for them to maintain their corporate identity in everything they do. They will have specific requirements often for logo size and location, menu style, fonts and corporate colours and for this, slide masters are not only a great idea, they are essential and will save you hours. One tip I would give here is to work out your slide master and then run it past your client at the start for their approval. Not only will this avoid last minute design issues, it is also a good way of making your client feel involved in the whole process right from the start. The other thing I really like about SL slide masters is the fact that it is not just a single mast... Expand

Chris Roetzer
Nicole Legault